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Business Models

Real Life Legal: Opposing Counsel Throw Up Barriers to Unbundled Services

July 5, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

(Note – I spoke too soon in my earlier post – but I had to get this off my chest!) This past February 2013, the ABA passed this Resolution to encourage practitioners  (presumably solos and pre-paid providers, since those committees co-sponsored the resolution) to provide unbundled legal services.  No doubt, most ardent proponents of unbundled […]

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Doing work that you love in your law practice when it doesn’t pay the bills.

February 25, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Starting and running your own law firm allows you the autonomy to pick and choose the kinds of cases you want to handle. But what happens when there’s no apparent market for the work that you love or where a market exists but the work isn’t financially viable? A lack of market refers to a […]

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The Siren’s Song of the Unlaw Firm: Will Today’s New Business Models Help Solos…or End Their Careers?

January 25, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Call it the un-law firm.  As big law crumbles and some solos struggle to compete with national non-lawyer providers like Legal Zoom, new business models for law firms are cropping up to fill the void.  From Virtual Law Partners  and  Rimon Legal  to branded networks of solos and franchise offices, alternatives to the standard law […]

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Growing Solo: The Rise of the Dynamic Law Practice

November 9, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

These  workplace trends  described by Smart Company are worth a read because they apply with equal force to law firms.  Most interesting to me is the concept of “dynamic staffing,” where groups of employees are formed from within and outside a company to help on a particular project.  The concept of dynamic staffing is a […]

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I Can Unbundle The Case, But I Can’t Unbundle My Heart

February 22, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

I want to wholeheartedly embrace the concept of unbundled legal services, I really do.  After all, what’s not to like?  The demand for affordable legal services is greater than ever.  With courthouses overrun by pro se litigants, even judges are pressing for unbundled legal services.  Technology is empowering a generation of educated, sophisticated consumers who […]

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Ideas for the Firm of the Future + One: Diversify Your Offerings

February 10, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Via Dan Pinnington at, I learned of Merrilyn Tarlton’s excellent article, Figuring Out Your Place in the Race (ABA Law Practice Magazine, Jan/Feb. 2010).  Recognizing that technology advancements and economic upheaval have rendered extinct the high leverage business model, Tarlton predicts that “the future of the business of law is going to be about […]

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Boutique Practice: Leaving the Land of Loss Leaders

February 4, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

The twenty-first century version of loss leaders, big-law style, is nothing more than old fashioned price cutting wars, observes Toby Brown at Three Geeks and a Law Blog.  A loss leader refers to a pricing strategy whereby a product is advertised below cost to lure customers in the hopes of selling them more profitable, big […]

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Where’s the Value Add in Big Firms?

August 11, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Even if for the sake of argument, you accept the proposition that biglaw is better than small law, the question is: how much better.  Is an $850/hr partner at a mega firm really $500/hr better than his or her solo or small firm counterpart?  Naturally, we solo and small firm lawyers would say no, but […]

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Could You Be A Front for A Firm?

April 14, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

I’m getting ready for my upcoming conference, but couldn’t resist posting about this article that describes the trend of minority owned firms partnering up with larger firms to help meet diversity requirements.  It’s a trend that I mentioned in my book Solo by Choice, so I was interested to learn that the trend has since […]

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The Lock-Step Monster

March 20, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost Why is it that biglaw is always engaged in a constant game of follow the leader?  A few years back, sites like Above the Law gleefully documented the steady upward march of […]

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